Clapton CFC: An Anti-Fascist, Fan-Owned, Non-League Club

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Clapton Ultras
Image by Clapton CFC

Clapton CFC is a fan-owned football club based in East London. The club plays in the Middlesex County League and its current home ground is Wadham Lodge in Walthamstow.

A New Start

Clapton CFC

Clapton Community Football Club is a phoenix club that was formed in February 2018 by fans after a protracted dispute with the owner of historic Clapton FC. This was due to years of mismanagement that was seen at Clapton FC. The new club is a reincarnation of the old one that was founded in 1878 as a member’s club.

Just after a few months of its break away from Clapton FC, the new club managed to register over 1,000 members. Clapton CFC is entirely fan-owned and every member receives one share in the club. This is also equal to one vote and a chance to join up to two of the club’s eleven departmental committees. The club’s one share is very symbolic and represents Clapton CFC’s egalitarian DIY culture.

The Clapton CFC fans aim to return the club to its historic Forest Gate home, the Old Spotted Dog.

An Away Kit With Meaning

Clapton Community FC’s away shirt went viral in 2018 in Spain because of its anti-fascist message. The non-league club from London managed to sell over 11,500 replica away kits. This is a huge feat considering the club’s size.

No one expected a small club from London to be recognised by Spanish football fans. However, as fate would have it, the club released a kit that became popular in England and across the borders for its anti-fascist message.

The eye-catching purple, red, and yellow ensemble are based on the flag of the Second Spanish Republic. The design of the kit was based on the colours of the International Brigade. This was a group that fought against fascists in Spain during the Civil War in the 1930s. The communist paramilitary group was made by overseas volunteers, including Britons that joined in the fight. Moreover, the kit features the celebrated slogan ‘no pasaran,’ which means ‘they shall not pass.’

The kit was manufactured by Italian company Rage Sport. They are an Italian company that makes shirts for grassroots clubs with anti-fascist principles. The jersey frenzy was so overwhelming that Clapton CFC’s website crashed.

Always Anti-Fascist

Football terraces expose some of the ugliest aspects of society. Racist chants, fascist symbols, and homophobia are not uncommon on terraces in cities like Bratislava, Madrid, and Rome.

Clapton Ultras
Image by Clapton CFC

However, the Clapton ultras have shown that this can all be changed. They are active in the streets and on the terraces, standing firmly against racism, fascism, and social injustice.

Clapton CFC continues to follow in the footsteps of famous anti-fascist clubs, such as Spanish club Rayo Vallecano and German side St. Pauli. The end game is to use football as a way of bringing together people against all kinds of hate.

Moreover, they also reach out to groups of marginalised people. This includes refugees, immigrants, and the LGBT+ community. The Clapton Ultras have brought a sense of inclusivity and a great vision for the future to their club.

Clapton Ultras: No Pyro, No Party

Clapton CFC has ultras groups, such as the Clapton CFC Punks and Gravy Ultras.

At home games, you will find the dedicated fans out in their numbers with the club’s red and white colours singing at the top of their voices. They follow the team across London and support it in every aspect.

The ultras also circulate literature at games, sell scarves and have clear roles and responsibilities. Moreover, the fans are actively trying to ensure that the club goes back to their home ground.

The “New” Tons

Clapton CFC has shown that it is a home for everybody. Regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or class, you are welcome at Clapton CFC.

Moreover, the “new” Tons have grown very fast and have even introduced a women’s team. The fan-owned club just shows how fans can take back their club and forge ahead.

The fans have a clear and genuine passion, both for their team and the community at large. They have taken their club back from poor management and made it their own the way it was before it was run down.

As they try to rise from the ashes, the whole Clapton CFC family has shown that football can go a long way in making a change in the world, even in the face of adversity.

Midfielder @ Hooligan F.C.

Donald Maloba is a Kenyan football writer and former football player. He eats, sleeps, and breathes football. He supports AFC Leopards.

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